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Discover the magic: Christmas markets in Europe. Part 2

Berlin, Germany

Berlin truly comes alive during the Christmas season, and its Christmas market is a testament to the city's festive spirit. The market is a feast for the senses, with its colorful lights, delightful aromas, and joyful sounds filling the air. As you stroll through the market, you'll be greeted by a dazzling array of stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is electric, with live music performances, carol singers, and even ice-skating rinks adding to the festive ambiance.
  • Arts and crafts
The market is a haven for craft enthusiasts, with numerous stalls offering handcrafted gifts, from intricate ornaments and delicate glasswork to traditional wooden toys.
  • Culinary delights
Food lovers can indulge in traditional German and international holiday treats. Savor classics like bratwurst, marzipan treats, roasted almonds, and the iconic stollen, a traditional Christmas cake.
  • Mulled wine and more
Don't miss the chance to sip on the local Glühwein, a warm, spiced mulled wine. For non-alcoholic options, try hot chocolate or a comforting cup of tea.
  • Live performances
The Berlin Christmas Market often hosts a variety of live performances, including choirs, instrumentalists, and theatrical productions. The music and entertainment add to the festive atmosphere.
  • Activities for all ages
This market is family-friendly, with special activities for children, such as a carousel and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
Berlin Christmas Markets in 2023

  • Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz (November 27, 2023 - January 07, 2024). This Christmas market in Berlin's western center is worth a visit while shopping on famous Kurfürstendamm.
  • Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt (Bebelplatz) (November 27 - December 31, 2023). Located on one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin, this Christmas Market offers quality decorations, food and entertainment.
  • Christmas Market at Berlin City Hall (November 27, 2023 - January 07, 2024). Famous for its Ferris wheel in front of the Governing Mayor's seat, this Christmas market tempts visitors with Old Berlin style market alleys, a circular ice rink, and culinary delights.
  • Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz (November 27 - December 26, 2023). The Christmas market on Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin is a mix between traditional market, funfair and party.

Find more information about various Christmas market in Berlin at

Krakow, Poland

The Krakow Christmas Market, known as "Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy," is a true gem among Europe's holiday markets. Nestled in the heart of the historic Old Town, it captivates visitors with its rich traditions and enchanting ambiance.
The Krakow Christmas Market is celebrated for its unique combination of Polish traditions and international influences. Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Handcrafted Treasures
The market boasts a vast selection of locally-made handicrafts. These include intricately decorated ornaments, delicate lace, and intricately carved wooden figurines. You'll also find regional products such as traditional Polish pottery.
  • Culinary Delights
Polish holiday delicacies take center stage. Savor hearty pierogi, kielbasa (sausage), and oscypek (smoked cheese). Don't forget to try the sweet treats like makowiec (poppy seed roll) and pierniki (gingerbread).
  • Krakow's Szopka
The market is famous for its Krakow nativity scenes known as "szopki." These are elaborate miniature models of the city's landmarks, crafted by local artists. The tradition of szopki dates back to the 19th century.
  • Mulled Wine and More
Warm up with a cup of grzane piwo (mulled beer) or traditional mulled wine, called grzane wino. Both are perfect for chasing away the winter chill.
  • Live Performances
The Krakow Christmas Market often features a stage with live music and entertainment. Local choirs and artists add to the festive atmosphere.

A unique tradition in Krakow is the "Wigilia" or Christmas Eve supper held in the market square on December 24th. It's a special event for those who want to experience an authentic Polish Christmas Eve.

The Krakow Christmas Market is not only about shopping and indulging in festive treats but also about immersing yourself in the rich Polish holiday traditions. The market's historic setting, local traditions, and unique cultural offerings make it a destination that provides a taste of Polish Christmas magic. Whether you're exploring the market's offerings or simply enjoying the enchanting atmosphere, the Krakow Christmas Market is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the true spirit of the season.
Krakow Christmas Market in 2023

Krakow Christmas Markets starts on the 24th November 24th November 2023 to 1st January 2024 (the Epiphany Festival runs after Christmas Day).
Opening hours are from 10 am to 8 pm, but some stalls stay open until late, especially the food stalls which continue to serve until at least 10 pm.

While celebrating Christmas in Krakow, you’ll encounter numerous food stalls scattered throughout the Old Town. Here, you mustn’t miss the chance to sample renowned dishes such as pierogi, steaming hot soups, roasted chestnuts, and an assortment of cured meats. For meat enthusiasts, there are stalls offering sandwiches laden with succulent meats, lard, cucumbers and onions. Additionally, you’ll find skewers and sausages, accompanied by an array of side dishes like potatoes, sauerkraut, and assorted vegetables.

Make sure to try the famous smoked sheep cheese called Oscypek, traditionally grilled and served with or without jam. To satisfy your sweet tooth, explore the enticing selection of sweets and cakes that fill the square with delightful aromas. Among the dessert offerings, I highly recommend indulging in gingerbread, typically served as heart-shaped biscuits, homemade cakes, the traditional Hungarian pastry known as kurtoskalacs, waffles, cookies, and spiced nuts.

Brussels, Belgium

The Brussels Christmas Market, known as "Brussels Winter Wonders," is a dazzling and multifaceted winter festival that turns the heart of Brussels into a magical holiday destination.

The main attraction, Brussels Winter Wonders, spreads throughout the Grand Place (Grote Markt) and stretches all the way to the Bourse square, encompassing the historic center of Brussels. This UNESCO World Heritage site is already known for its grandeur, and during the holiday season, it becomes even more spectacular.
Brussels Winter Wonders is celebrated for its vibrant atmosphere, cultural diversity, and a wide array of attractions. Here's what you can expect:

  • Grand Place Light Show
The Grand Place is the epicenter of the festivities, with an awe-inspiring light and sound show projected onto the facades of the historic buildings, creating a magical spectacle.
  • Christmas Market Stalls
The market features over 200 chalet-style stalls selling a variety of gifts, crafts, and holiday treats. It's an excellent place to pick up unique Belgian chocolates, artisanal products, and warm winter accessories.
  • Culinary Delights
Brussels Winter Wonders is a haven for food lovers. Enjoy Belgian specialties such as waffles, chocolates, and mouthwatering fries. Don't forget to try raclette or fondue, and pair your meal with Belgian beer or mulled wine.
  • Ice Skating
One of the market's highlights is the ice rink in Place de la Monnaie, where visitors can skate against the backdrop of the Brussels Stock Exchange building.
  • Fairground Attractions
An expansive fairground offers rides, carousels, and attractions that are fun for visitors of all ages.
  • Christmas Parade
On weekends, a colorful Christmas Parade winds its way through the streets of Brussels, featuring festive floats, lively characters, and music.
  • Live Performances
Live music, street performances, and cultural events are a regular part of the festivities, adding to the lively atmosphere.
Brussels Christmas Market in 2023

Brussels Christmas Market dates: 24th November to 31st December 2023.
Location: Grand-Place and extending to the Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine, Marché aux Poissons and Place de la Monnaie.
Opening times: 12 noon to 10pm daily except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it closes at 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.

Dressing and packing tips for a memorable Christmas Market experience

  • The key to comfort at Christmas markets is staying warm. Layering is your best friend. Start with a thermal base layer, add cozy sweaters, and top it off with a waterproof, insulated coat. Don't forget a good quality scarf, gloves, and a hat to keep you snug and protected from the elements. Sensible and warm footwear is essential, as cobblestone streets can be uneven and icy in patches.

  • European winters can be unpredictable, so check the weather forecast before your visit (by the way, it's easy to do with Time2Pack). It's often a good idea to pack a compact, sturdy umbrella. However, if your accommodation offers loaner umbrellas, you can save on luggage space and use one on-site if needed.

  • While digital payments are common in many places, having some coins and smaller denomination notes in the local currency can be very handy, especially at smaller stalls and when using public restrooms. Not all vendors accept cards, and a bit of cash ensures you can make those small purchases without any hassle.

  • While the markets can be a wonderful experience for humans, it's generally not recommended to bring pets. The festive atmosphere, loud music, and occasional fireworks can be stressful and even frightening for animals. It's best to leave your furry friends in a comfortable and familiar environment during your visit.

  • Traveling light is always a good idea. You're likely to pick up souvenirs and gifts at the markets, so having some extra space in your luggage is useful. A small backpack or tote bag can be convenient for carrying your purchases.

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